The red carpet is in place for the Oscars at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
The 81st edition of the Academy Awards begins at 5.30pm (local time) on Sunday.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hopes a slide in television viewers will be reversed by a programme created around Australian host Hugh Jackman.
US viewer numbers hit a record low of 32 million in 2008, down from 40 million in 2007.
British drama Slumdog Millionaire is expected to win the Oscar for best film.
Made for $US15 million, the film features a cast of unknown actors and is partially subtitled. It was nearly released straight to DVD in the United States last year - which would have ruled it out of contention for an Oscar.
Awards for best actor and actress are expected to go to Sean Penn,Milk, and Kate Winslet, The Reader.